The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Update on our Bosch Rotak lawnmower and why it was left out all winter

Shaggy long lawn

Shaggy long lawn

“I’m going to get dressed and mow the lawns today. I just hope that the mower will work as it has been out all winter.”
“What! Why?” spluttered Danny.
“I did tie on a bin liner to protect the electrical bits.”

This strange action needs an explanation – I have been treated for depression for about four years now. This doesn’t mean that I sit in the corner weeping, in fact I always think of myself as a happy person. The depression manifests itself in an extremely debilitating way. I find it very hard to do certain tasks. I buy plantlets for the kitchen garden and they wither in their pots, I invest in a course and don’t even download the software, I leave the lawnmower out all winter when there is space in the shed for it.

Danny is very, very patient with these rather odd antics.

Despite this blip there are lots of things that I do achieve. The trick is to follow through with the energy of the positive moment. Plant the baby plants out immediately, put the lawnmower in the shed after mowing and so on. Perhaps this year I’ll discover the trick to tackling this daemon.

Letting the grass grow long on the lawns is another Depression Waterloo. It gets to a foot high and the garden looks terrible. Because it looks so bad I ignore it and bury myself in another project. Each time that I look at the lawn I feel guilty. Why am I doing this to my beautiful garden and what about the lawnmower, with its bright red cord sun bleached from bright red to pink? Will it still work? And if it doesn’t what will I say to Danny?

Most keen gardeners know that keeping your lawn mown and the edges clipped trim will hide a lot of mess in the borders and the rest of the garden. That’s why I’ve heard our neighbours out with their lawn mowers for over a month now.

Before John retired three years ago, he cut the lawns at the cottage every other week. So for at least a week everything looked great. Danny is not a mowing man. Our old lawnmower was a heavy beast and as the lawn mowing was now my responsibility I quickly got tired of having to ask D to start the mower and rescue me from tight spots.

I bought a new Bosch Rotack electric lawn mower that I reviewed here. There were three reasons for investing in this particular model, it had great reviews, it was light and it could cut long grass. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to mowing the lawn. On many occasions I have let the lawns become a meadow. This morning I decided to tackle the grass and I took along my trusty walkman radio to keep me company. Being electric, the mower is relatively quiet and the radio helps distract me from the seemingly mammoth task in hand.

I collected all the necessary tools and implements from around the garden – yes another naughty habit – the edging tool, the edging shears and the basket for holding the edging clippings. Our wheelbarrow is up at the allotment so I use a garden sheet  for moving the grass cuttings down to the compost area. Half an old single sheet would do just as well.

Oh this is so much better!

Oh this is so much better!

I knew that I was just putting off the moment when I tried out the lawnmower. The 50 meter cable box had also spent a chilly winter in the garden too – wrapped in a trusty dustbin liner. As Danny would say, I have a penchant for skating on really thin ice.

When the great moment came the lawnmower instantly purred into action. If you are cutting long grass you have to move slowly so as not to strain the motor but this gives you time to truly admire the action from this wonderful mower.

I’ve cut and trimmed the edges of two thirds of the garden and it looks great. Tomorrow I’m planning tackle the top herbaceous garden and reseed the Min Pin mud path.

Just now I discovered that my Bosch Rotak mower has been replaced by a new model Bosch Rotak 40 Ergoflex. If you are looking to buy a new mower at least you know now that the Bosch Rotak can be treated severely, still perform well and bring joy to its owner!


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  1. I have the same problem Fiona. My hose has been littering the front garden for months, luckily no-one has nicked it.

  2. I was looking at your “before” picture and honestly the shaggy lawn doesn’t look bad at all! At least it’s not brown dried up lawn…

  3. You are not alone – I don’t suffer from depression, and yet right now there are plants needing planting and edges needing edging (particularly shoddy-looking thanks to some marauding hens.) Gardening has oh-so-many ways of making one feel like an under-achiever! The nice thing about having chickens underfoot is that whatever you do, they are enthused about it. My own cheering section to get things done! (And if the seedlings die, they are thrilled to get the remains.)
    –Terry at

  4. Fiona – trying to energise yourself to deal with things straight away is a good tactic, but even more important is not to beat yourself up when you don’t meet your own high standards. Depression is an illness, not a choice, and you wouldn’t feel so guilty about letting some things slide if you had a kidney infection, or shingles or similar. Try to achieve all the things you want to do, but accept that you won’t always be able to, and be kind to yourself when depression rears its ugly cruel head.

  5. No you are not alone, until you mentioned how you felt in your blog i wasn`t facing up to the fact of being in the same position, jobs to be done but i find excuses for not doing them, hence the list gets longer and the self esteem flows out of the body, i am here on my own so i have no one else i can use as an excuse but thank you for giving me that kick where it was needed, today the lawn Will be cut and the edges Will be trimmed and for today the depression will be on the back burner, thank you xx

  6. Fiona- know EXACTLY what you mean about the tasks and depression.Yes, doing stuff RIGHT NOW works- but sticking to that rule isn’t easy! Small tasks very swiftly turn into a mountain that cannot be climbed.You are not alone!x

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